Chemical Imbalance, Genetics and Biology of Bipolar Disorder

Sean Blackwell

…is sharing this excellent 7m 31s film. It is what I have said for a few years now, just that Sean says it better and more clearly.

(Originally added to this site 8th July 2013)

These are not such new ideas. What is happening is that people like me and Sean are rediscovering stuff that has been known for years.

A man called Meyer was writing and telling as many people as he could about the ineffectiveness of labeling people with specific mental illness quite a while back (in 1896!). It is a difficult message to get across.

I studied, taught and wrote about bipolar. I even took the psychiatric drugs for it for 12 years. Gradually I discovered that bipolar is no more than a label given to people when an underlying cause has not been found.

Discovering a disorder does not have to mean a permanent disability gives opportunities for change and having a whole new life.

bipolar waking up

My review of Sean Blackwell’s book:

Bipolar or Waking Up

The Myth of the Chemical Cure – Joanna Moncrieff – #antidepressant #neuroleptic #moodstabilizer

The Myth of the Chemical CureJoanna Moncrieff

By Joanna Moncrieff 2008

Review and thoughts on the revised edition 2009

You may have wondered: How effective are psychiatric drugs?

After reading this excellent 300 page Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment I know the answer depends on what we mean by effective. Dr Moncrieff explains most of the psychiatric drugs are effective sedatives, yet psychiatric drugs are not resolving any specific mental health disorders. This matches the findings of every psychiatrist taking a look at the evidence.

This soundly researched book takes us through how psychiatric drugs came into use, the hopes for each drug, what the drugs are claimed to do and what the drugs really do.

Chemical imbalances may exist for reasons such as poor nutrition, but there is no evidence of the imbalances being linked to particular diagnoses or that these can be corrected by the use of psychiatric drugs. In contrast, there is evidence of the drugs creating imbalances and users becoming more unwell.

For me, the central theme of this book is whether:

a)      Psychiatric drugs are simply mood altering, addictive drugs with similar effects and outcomes for users as illegal street drugs. This is the ‘drug-centered model’ believed by most professionals and the public up until about the 1960’s.


b)      The disease-centered model populararized by the promotion of ‘new’ drugs marketed with descriptions of what the drug companies hoped the drugs would do.

The drug company (‘big pharma’) records show that (a) is true. The drug names were based on hopes and not on science. None of the drugs were ever proved to have specific anti-depressant, anti-psychotic or mood stabilizing properties. Governments and the public so much wanted to hear about new ways of treating mental illness that improbable stories of social and relationship problems being solved by using new expensive drugs were accepted as true.

The sad reality is that each drug brings with it a set of health risks, described as side-effects. As Dr Moncrieff explains, these are simply effects that occur to some extent for everyone who uses drugs that sedate and gradually change our biochemistry.

If you are on sedative drugs at this time this book is going to be a huge challenge with its attention to detail, with (it seems to me) ‘no stone left unturned’.

The use of psychiatric drugs is now so widespread every healthcare worker needs to know of the short-term and long-term effects. If you are working anywhere in health services or have relatives taking psychiatric drugs then this book is essential reading.

Highly recommended.

Available from:

[Amazon in UK]  [Amazon in USA] [More on Dr J. Moncrieff]

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